I'm really feeling it!
I'm really feeling it!
Illustration for article titled Video Gaming and Anxiety

I'd like to open up a dialogue about mental health... I am a sufferer of general anxiety. Have been all my life. I've been diagnosed with things like ADHD and depression too, but I'm of the opinion that lack of self-confidence and difficulty completing assignments comes more from the anxiety than anything. I've been on every pill, I grew up in a single parent home, and I was bullied pretty relentlessly, all through school - even in my last year of college. While I'm very sociable and have no problem carrying conversation, things like messaging people on Facebook (even the two TAYers I talk to on there), calling a driving school or applying for a job are extremely difficult tasks for me. Instead of saying "Calling this guy back and thanking him for the job interview will be beneficial," my brain says things like, "If I call and thank him for the job interview, he'll find me annoying and hate me and never give me the job and I'll be unemployed for the rest of my life and nobody likes me" - run-on sentence and all.

So things like video games, where I find a refreshing sense of solace, are great escapes for me. You know... I'm never "Matt N: The stupid poor kid who will never amount to anything and has no friends [even though I do have friends, am quite intelligent, and have accomplished a lot given my circumstances]" - I'm "Donkey Kong: The quick-to-anger banana fiend whose quests for sustenance is unstoppable" or I'm "Fallout: New Vegas guy: The wanderer who finds powerful allies in the Brotherhood of Steel".

It wouldn't shock me if most hardcore gamers had some form of mental distress - social anxiety, depression, states of excessively high/low energy... To put the love and care that we do into these digital fantasy worlds isn't "normal". That's why most people don't understand why we're singing sweeping praise of Majora's Mask and Bioshock Infinite. For them, it's mere entertainment; a time-waster for bored minds. For us - well, for me at least - they are like childhood daydreams... Everything is possible, nothing is silly, you matter, and nothing can stop you.

Thanks for reading.

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